What is “Active Listening”?
Active listening is about paying close attention to what a person is saying and how s/he is saying it. You can achieve great success with this in a number of ways including:
- Use of non-verbal sounds or movements that show you are listening, while still permitting the person to speak.
- Paraphrasing or repeating what s/he says to make sure there are no misunderstandings.
- Asking open-ended questions rather than making statements or giving advice.
- Putting one’s own beliefs, thoughts and feelings on hold so as to fully take in the speaker’s emotions.
- Where appropriate, accepting and validating that person’s feelings.
Active listening can reduce misunderstandings.
Create a safe space for vocalising feelings and help partners understand each other better.
We are naturally prone to becoming preoccupied with our own thoughts and feelings. When someone is talking to us, it is all too easy to get distracted and not pay attention closely to what the other person is saying.
Rather than listening, we may get distracted by what’s going on around us, get caught up in unrelated thoughts or become focused on what we want to say next. This can become particularly damaging to relationships because important pieces of communication can be lost, leading to misunderstandings and frustrations on the part of the speaker.
Active listening eliminates blame.
When your partner comes to you with a problem, it’s natural to want to find answers and offer advice, but sometimes offering opinions isn’t what he needs. In some cases, an avid listener is all they need to feel better — and that’s where active listening can be your best friend.
Allowing your partner to talk through the problem and come to a solution on their own ensures that somewhere down the line, they’ll respect you more for being there as a support, rather than throwing solutions at them.
Ultimately active listening isn’t necessarily about finding answers; it’s about creating a safe space in which you can both get things out in the open.
Active listening eliminates judgement.
This is crucial in a relationship, as you want to be able to talk freely and openly to each other. Take turns to speak and to listen so you each have time to get everything that is bothering you on the table.
Active listening results in improved communication
This is a panacea to a suffering relationship. It is all about being attentive to what the person speaking is saying. It allows you to focus entirely on the emotions and experiences of your partner. Guys, rather than planning out how you should respond or what you want to say next, you can remain fully open and engaged. I guarantee to you that your partner would appreciate this a lot.
Here’s a summary of the 5 quick tips of Active Listening. Go do it!!!
- Show you’re listening with non verbals (if you’re on the phone verbal nods)
- Clarify to show you’re engaged
- Ask open questions (What, How, Why)
- Keep your judgements to yourself
- Accept what they’re saying as their truth – their perception.